GRAND HAVEN, Mich. - One of West Michigan's largest and most iconic festivals is finally here! The Coast Guard Festival kicks off July 26 and wraps up on August 4. There is so much to see, do, eat and experience at Coast Guard Festival and 13 is ON YOUR SIDE to break it all down.  

From the schedule of events, traffic concerns and where to grab a bite to eat, here is everything you need to know for the 95th Coast Guard Festival.

The Festival

The Coast Guard Festival is jam-packed with events each day, including parades, live music, ship tours, a car show, the carnival and more. Here are some of the highlights we highly suggest checking out:

Friday, July 26

βœ‚οΈ Lighthouse Quilt Guild, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., St. Patrick's Church at 901 Columbus Ave. Admission is $6.
β›΅ Cardboard Boat Race Pre-Build, 6 to 8 p.m., Coast Guard Festival Office, 113 N. Second St.
🎀 Bruce in the USA: A Bruce Springsteen Tribute Band, 8 p.m., Waterfront Stage. Purchase tickets here.

Saturday, July 27

πŸ‘Ÿ Tri-Cities YMCA Coast Guard Festival Run, 7:30 a.m., Grand Haven YMCA.
βœ‚οΈ Lighthouse Quilt Guild, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., St. Patrick's Church at 901 Columbus Ave. Admission is $6.
πŸŽ‰ Kids Parade, 10:30 a.m., Washington Avenue
β›΅ Cardboard Boat Race, 1:30 p.m., Waterfront Stage
🎀 Hotel California: An Eagles Tribute Band, 8 p.m., Waterfront Stage. Purchase tickets here.

RELATED: Coast Guard replica boat competing in cardboard boat race

Sunday, July 28

πŸš— Cruise-In Car Show, 7:30 a..m. to 2:30 p.m., Washington Avenue to Harbor Drive and Fourth Street.
πŸ’΅ Flea Market, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 7th Street between Washington and Columbus avenues.
πŸ” Community Picnic, 1 to 4 p.m., Coast Guard Park in Ferrysburg.
πŸ™ Worship on the Waterfront, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Waterfront Stage

Monday, July 29

🚒 CANCELED: Ship arrivals, around 1 p.m. at Escanaba Park.
🚒 Ship Tours, 6 to 8 p.m., Escanaba Park.
🎀 Festival Idol, 6:30 p.m., Waterfront Stage

RELATED: On board the USCGC Escanaba as it sails into Grand Haven

Tuesday, July 30

β›³ Coast Guard Golf Tournament, 8 a.m., Spring Lake Country Club
πŸ‘§ Kids Day, 1/article/news/coast-guard/on-board-the-uscgc-escanaba-as-it-sails-int0 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mulligan's Hollow.
🚒 Ship Tours, 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Escanaba Park.
🎑 Downtown Carnival, 6 to 11 p.m., Washington Avenue from Harbor Drive to Third Street. For ticket and wristband prices, click here.
🎿 Grand City Skiers, 7 p.m., Waterfront Stage. Purchase tickets here.
πŸ’ƒ Street Dance, 8:30 to 10:30 p.m., Washington Avenue

RELATED: Grand City Show Skiers showcase skills at Coast Guard Festival

Wednesday, July 31

πŸ‘΄ Senior Day, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mulligan's Hollow.
⚾ Coast Guard Softball Tournament, 8:30 a.m., Mulligan's Hollow.
🚒 Ship Tours, 10 a.m. to noon and 6 to 8 p.m., Escanaba Park.
🎑 Downtown Carnival, 2 to 11 p.m., Washington Avenue from Harbor Drive to Third Street. For ticket and wristband prices, click here.
πŸŽ–οΈ Veterans Resource Fair, 3 to 5 p.m., Momentum Center at 71 Columbus Ave.
πŸ“Έ Red Carpet Photos, 5 p.m., The Eagles at Columbus Avenue and Second Street.
⚽ Waterball Competition, 6 p.m., Washington Avenue between Third and Fourth streets.
🎀 British Legends: Elton John and Rod Steward tribute acts, 8 p.m., Waterfront Stage. Purchase tickets here.

Thursday, August 1

⚾ Coast Guard Softball Tournament, 8:30 a.m., Mulligan's Hollow.
🚒 Ship Tours, 10 a.m. to noon, 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Escanaba Park.
🎑 Downtown Carnival, 2 to 11 p.m., Washington Avenue from Harbor Drive to Third Street. For ticket and wristband prices, click here.
🎀 Legends Live: Neil Diamond and Tom Jones tribute artist, 8 p.m., Waterfront Stage. Purchase tickets here.

RELATED: Take a tour of Coast Guard Festival with a Grand Haven local

Friday, August 2

⚾ Coast Guard Softball Championship, 8:30 a.m., Mulligan's Hollow
βœ‚οΈ Coast Guard Craft Fair, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Central Park.
🚒 Ship Tours, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m., Escanaba Park.
πŸŽ–οΈ Walk of Coast Guard History, 12 p.m., Grand Haven City Hall
πŸ₯ United States Coast Guard Band, 1:15 p.m., Waterfront Stage
🎑 Downtown Carnival, 2 to 11 p.m., Washington Avenue from Harbor Drive to Third Street. For ticket and wristband prices, click here.
πŸŽ–οΈ National Coast Guard Memorial Service, 4 p.m., Escanaba Park
🎺 Broadwalk Brass of Grand Haven, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Escanaba Park.
🎀 Satisfaction: A Rolling Stones Tribute Band, 8 p.m., Waterfront Stage. Purchase tickets here.

RELATED: Behind the scenes look into the 'Best Fireworks Show in West Michigan'

Saturday, August 3

βœ‚οΈ Coast Guard Craft Fair, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Central Park.
🚒 Ship Tours, 10 a.m. to noon, 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Escanaba Park.
πŸŽ‰ Meijer Grand Parade, 11:45 a.m., Washington Avenue.
🎑 Downtown Carnival, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Washington Avenue from Harbor Drive to Third Street. For ticket and wristband prices, click here.
🎀 Abbamania and Night Fever Tribute, 8 p.m., Waterfront Stage. Purchase tickets here.
πŸŽ† Fireworks Extravaganza, starts at dusk at the Waterfront Stage. 

Sunday, August 4

πŸ™ Worship on the Waterfront, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Waterfront Stage

For the full event list, click here.


The Details

Organizers estimate that about 350,000 people will attend the festival. Due to a rise in attendance over the past years, the event will see a few changes during its 98th celebration.

RELATED: Police step up security during Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival

Traffic


It will be very crowded downtown during the festival. Many of the downtown streets including Washington and Columbus avenues stretching from 7th Street to Harbor Drive are closed for the festival, carnivals and parades. 

RELATED: How to navigate the Coast Guard Festival

Handicap Parking: The east and west sides of the Municipal Marina Parking lot, north of the entrance, will be β€œHandicap Parking Only” starting 8 a.m. on Tuesday, July 30 through 1 a.m. on Sunday, August 4.
Shuttle Opportunities: If you park at Harbor Island, a shuttle will take you to downtown Grand Haven. It's $10 per carload. The shuttle starts running at 9 p.m. and wraps after the fireworks.
Parks and Ride: You can park in a few different places in the Tri-City area, pay $1 and ride into the festival. 

  1. Grand Haven
    • Griffin Elementary School
    • Trinity Reformed Church
    • First Christian Reformed Church
    • Ferry Elementary School
  2. Ferrysburg
    • Ferrysburg City Hall
  3. Spring Lake
    • Spring Lake Presbyterian
    • First Baptist Church

Bathrooms

Some of the facilities received updates and even more portable bathrooms will be dispersed into key areas, heavily concentrated in the downtown area, to better accommodate attendees. Local businesses do not want festival patrons using their bathrooms. 

Saving Spots

The City of Grand Haven invited everyone to place sheets, caution tape, golf tees and blankets on public property to reserve their spots for fireworks and parades.However, it is prohibited to put down spot marking materials before 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug 2.

Alcohol

There is a no-alcohol policy at the festival and officers will be checking for it. 

Fireworks

If you want to light off fireworks on the final Saturday of the Coast Guard Festival, you will have to do so in Grand Haven Township.

The Food

The Coast Guard Festival brings out so many delicious food vendors, trucks and restaurants. If you're looking for fresh sandwiches, salads and more, 13 ON YOUR SIDE's resident "foodie" James Starks recommends checking out the Toasted Pickle. He recently shot an episode of Let's Eat, check it out:

RELATED: 'Fresh is everything' at the Toasted Pickle

James also suggests heading over to the Paisley Pig Gastropub. He shot a special Coast Guard Festival edition of Let's Eat, check that out too:

RELATED: 'Let's Eat' at the Coast Guard Festival

Some other places we suggest you try while enjoying the festival:

  • Morning Star Cafe
  • Arturo's Tacos
  • Snug Harbor
  • Nibbles Ice Cream
  • Butch's Beach Burritos
  • Long Road Distillers
  • The Kirby House
  • The Grill Room

But don't just limit yourself to this small list. These are just a few of Grand Haven's options; there's tons of restaurants with delicious foods that everyone can enjoy.


A Day in the Life

Members of the Coast Guard work tirelessly to keep us safe. 13 ON YOUR SIDE got to see first hand how they train. 

Want to take a break from Coast Guard festivities? No problem, there is still plenty to check out in Grand Haven.

The iconic Grand Haven catwalk, which was out of commission for months after it was taken down by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is back open and fully functional. It was resurfaced and portions of the pier were raised.

The Grand Haven Paddle Pub is new to the area and offers a fun way to get on the water. The sixteen passenger powered cycle boat boasts a two-hour trip along the Grand River. 

If you want to get out of the sun and soak up some history instead, the Tri-Cities Historical Museum might be perfect. It's a free experience that has exhibits that explore what it was like in the Tri-Cities in the 1800s, wigwams, recreated cabins and more. It's open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. It is closed on Mondays. 

If you've got kids, checking out the Imagination Station may be on your list. The expansive playspace at Mulligan's Hollow was reopened last year. There are new slides, rock walls and rope structures. The Imagination Station is handicap accessible as well. It's always a hit with the kids. 

If you're looking for art, check out Gallery Uptown. It's the oldest artist-operated gallery in Michigan. Thirty West Michigan artist show their work in the gallery year-round at a themed show each month. This month's show celebrates the beauty of Michigan. For all the details about when the gallery is open and the artist, visit the Gallery Uptown website

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